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5 questions to (try to) answer during Packers' OTAs

First look at new defense will be in non-contact workouts

LB Quay Walker
LB Quay Walker

GREEN BAY – The Packers have started their organized team activities (OTAs) this week, with reporters getting access to one workout per week over the next three weeks, beginning Tuesday. After that, the offseason program wraps up with the mandatory minicamp from June 11-13, which also will be covered.

Here are five things that the media will be watching for in the non-contact practices.

  1. Where exactly is everybody lining up in this new defense?

There aren't expected to be any real surprises along the defensive line in new coordinator Jeff Hafley's 4-3, but two positions that'll be watched closely are linebacker and safety.

Where Hafley uses Quay Walker, in addition to who's lining up alongside him amongst Isaiah McDuffie and rookie draft picks Edgerrin Cooper and Ty'Ron Hopper, will be worth noting. Also, free-agent prize Xavier McKinney at safety will need a new partner amongst draft picks Javon Bullard and Evan Williams, along with returnee Anthony Johnson Jr. (another draft pick, Kitan Oladapo, is not expected to participate due to ongoing recovery from offseason toe surgery).

The early look at the depth chart in these open competitions will be just that – an early look. But it'll be an important look at where Hafley and his staff feel everyone fits best, for now.

  1. How does Josh Jacobs look as the new RB1?

Green Bay's other top free agent, Jacobs, is stepping in as the new bell cow for Matt LaFleur's backfield. There'll be even less to go on here at this time of year, before the pads go on in August, but both Jacobs and LaFleur commented during the spring about using him more as a pass catcher than the Raiders did in his five seasons with them.

Jacobs averaged around 40 receptions per year with the Raiders, while Aaron Jones' single-season high in LaFleur's offense was 59, in 2022. The upcoming workouts could provide clues as to some of the plans for Jacobs.

  1. What does the No. 1 offensive line look like right now?

One assumption is with David Bakhtiari, Jon Runyan and Yosh Nijman all departed, the starting offensive line could be, left to right, Rasheed Walker Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Sean Rhyan and Zach Tom.

But does first-round pick Jordan Morgan fit in somewhere? Will free agent and former first-rounder Andre Dillard take any reps with the first unit? Does anybody else run with the ones? Time will tell.

  1. How's the team's health?

Earlier reports in the offseason indicated all was well with receiver Christian Watson and cornerback Eric Stokes, who both were plagued with hamstring injuries throughout last season. They spent time with specialists at UW-Madison before players returned for the start of offseason workouts last month, but nothing's been revealed about what they learned.

As of the draft last month, Kingsley Enagbare had avoided reconstructive knee surgery stemming from his injury in the NFC Wild Card playoff game in Dallas in January, so perhaps another update on his progress will be forthcoming.

Also, offensive lineman Luke Tenuta and receiver Samori Toure ended last season on injured reserve, while new health information can be revealed on players who might be sitting out practices this time of year.

  1. Does anybody have an early edge in the kicking competition?

The Packers currently have three kickers on the roster – second-year pro (and incumbent) Anders Carlson, veteran acquisition Greg Joseph and undrafted Jack Podlesny. Indications are the Packers are going to let all three battle it out for the job.

Whether any of the kicking periods during OTAs will be on days the media is present remains to be seen. Perhaps by the end of minicamp in mid-June, the competition will be down to just two kickers, but that remains to be seen as well.